HACKNEY Labour is celebrating victory alongside the RMT union with the announcement by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, of a £5m injection to keep open London Overground ticket offices that were threatened with closure late last year.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, who helped to lead the Hackney Labour campaign supporting the RMT fight against closure, said:
“We opposed these closures in the strongest possible terms. Ticket offices don’t just sell tickets, they provide a range of services and help. As such they have a vital role to play at stations, making a passenger’s journey safer and more friendly.
“Well done for the RMT in being so persistent in its campaign and we are glad that the Mayor of London has taken this action to keep the ticket offices open.”
She added: “Many of our stations are already at full capacity with station staff having to help move passengers safely out of the station at peak times every day.
“Those who are disabled, elderly and vulnerable may be less confident using a ticket machine, and feel harassed by queues, who often need that help a member of staff can provide.
“One of our main industries in London is tourism and the personal touch and help for tourists is also something a machine cannot provide.
“We need to see a solid future of properly staffed, safe, secure and accessible transport for all.”
Not all of the ticket offices will retain their current opening hours across London, but the mayor’s office has confirmed they will all be open from 7.30am to 10.30am each weekday – and open longer where last year’s consultation revealed there was “customer demand over 12 transactions an hour”.
The one Hackney ticket office not saved is Stamford Hill where the ticket office has been closed for some time.
Ticket offices now to stay open are: Clapton, Dalston Kingsland, Dalston Junction, Hackney Central, Hackney Downs, Hackney Wick, Haggerston, Homerton, Hoxton, Rectory Road, Shoreditch High Street, and Stoke Newington.
A page on the rail union RMT website at https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-members-on-london-overground-secure-major-victory/ gives their response to the news.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said: “However we remain vigilant as in our experience once a package of cuts is proposed they remain an option in the longer term. Any backsliding will result in a new blast of pressure from this trade union and our national campaign to staff our stations and retain ticket offices continues.”